Steve Spagnuolo Says Giants Held Back in 2007 Regular Season Finale vs Patriots
Current Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo recently told the New York Daily News the New York Giants intentionally pulled back their defensive playcalling against the Patriots during the final game of the regular season in 2007. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for that Giants team. However, Spagnuolo said the fact that the defensive scheme was scaled back does not mean the team did not play hard or want to win:
“You know, as much as we wanted to win that game – all of us did – and we played it to win it, we made a decision defensively we weren’t going to jeopardize trying to win the Tampa Bay game by throwing out our whole game plan in the 16th game of the season. So there was a little bit of a pullback there.”
The Patriots won that game, with the Giants — who led the NFL sacks that year with 53 — only sacking Tom Brady once and giving up 356 yards passing. Despite the loss, the game seemed to serve as a catalyst for New York’s playoff and eventual Super Bowl run. Now it appears that maybe the contrast in defensive play calling between that game and the Super Bowl was what allowed the Giants to sack Brady five times in their Super Bowl victory. Though quarterback Eli Manning was named MVP of the game, anyone who watched knows the defensive line should have won the award collectively. And it looks like the sly behavior of the Giants coaches paid off.